First Sip: Just Cause 4 – Review
Just Cause 4 developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Square Enix, is the latest entry in the Just Cause franchise, you once again control Rico Rodriguez, secret agent turned revolutionary, in another adventure in a south American island nation, this time trying to stop an evil dictator from getting his hands on a weapon that controls the weather itself.
If you’ve played any of the previous entries, then you should be familiar with the basics, Rico has a grappling hook that he uses as both a weapon and a mode of transport, he has his infinitely deployable parachute and he has his wingsuit from the previous game too, over all, if you’ve played 3 then you know what to expect from 4, the biggest addition to 4 being the weather, in Just Cause 4, you will see tornadoes, sand storms and lightning storms (and as you progress you’ll even get the chance to wreak some havoc with some weather based weapons of your own).
Coming into the game, I had heard a lot of criticism focusing on the graphics, motion blur and constant crashes, at the time of this review Steam has the game with a Mostly Negative reviews mentioning those issues in most of them, however I played the game on PS4, have experienced no crashes, the game looks beautiful and the motion blur….I turned off immediately.
Going further into the visuals of the game, the character models are good, nothing amazing but they are designed well and animated well, the locales though, thick jungles, snow capped mountains, bustling bases, sun drenched deserts, ancient ruins, for a relatively small set of islands (in terms of the Earth, the in game map is quite large), there is an astounding amount of variety, and it all looks phenomenal, it’s a wonderful place to spend some time, zipping through the trees, floating over the mountains, swimming through the crystal clear waters, if it wasn’t for all the people shooting at you, it would be a great vacation spot.
Soundwise, Just Cause 4 has some great sound-effects, satisfying explosions, car engines revving, guttural gunshots, everything you could want from an action games list of sounds, musically you have a few stations you can listen to in vehicles, they all play Spanish songs (which makes a lot of sense for the setting of the game) and are quite fun, there is also incidental music that plays during exciting missions, I’ve noticed a trend of games incorporating 80’s style dark synth into their soundtracks, such as Mutant Year Zero, the upcoming Hyper Parasite (though the entirety of that game is drenched in 80’s neon) and even Grand Theft Auto 5 when you hit 4 or more wanted stars, Just Cause 4 follows this trend with some tasty synths hiding behind explosions and chaos, and even if it doesn’t make much sense thematically, it still sounds great.
Gameplay wise, Just Cause 4, like the previous games is an open world Sandbox adventure (think Grand Theft Auto 3 onwards), after the opening mission that gets you acclimated to the world and Rico’s skillset, you’re free to explore, the game will present you with missions to progress the story, however generally you will have a few options including side missions, the order is up to you too, you can choose to take on a side mission like training your rebel army or exploring ancient ruins, a story mission like destroying a base and stealing equipment you need, or area side missions like breaking prisoners out of enemy bases and escorting them to an escape point or hacking a computer to steal blueprint data for more toys to play with.
Also new to the Just Cause franchise, is squads, these are groups of soldiers you can dispatch to increase your control over the lands and access more vehicles, weapons and other things (like Drones) for you to have supply dropped (basically you call up one of the pilots you have unlocked and they will fly past and drop an item of your choice, after a 5 minute cooldown you can ask for the same again or change what they’ll drop), as you cause more chaos (exploding enemies and their bases), your level will increase and you’ll gain access to more squads so you can push the frontlines back further, you can also see the skirmishes as you explore and you can get in on the fight yourself, although the enemies seem to spawn infinitely, but sometimes one of your soldiers will have a mission available for you to try.
Completing sub missions have different effects, some give you access to new vehicles, weapons etc. whereas the ancient ruins will give you points that you can use to mod your grappling hook, giving you access to the “retractor” mod, if you hold the grappling hook button and move the cursor to another location you can fire a wire that connects two objects together, this can be used in all sorts of fun ways, from activating levers and turning off breakers (why the enemy army designed their breakers to be flipped by grappling hooks is anyone’s guess), to hooking a car to a door and driving the car to pull the door off, or a person to an exploding barrel so you can watch them fling together and explode in a satisfying firework of carnage and creativity, with the retractor mod upgrades, you can have it do things like increase the speed at which the retraction occurs, which means you can slingshot things away, always fun, likewise doing missions for training the army results in a balloon mod for your grappling hook, with this option holding the button and releasing will cause a balloon to fill up, pulling things up into the air much like the weather balloons in Metal Gear Solid 5, additional upgrades for this one include filling the balloon’s with explosive helium or making the balloons indestructible.
Story wise, as mentioned at the start, an evil dictator is trying to get his hands on a device that can control the weather which he had commissioned (uhh, the weapon commissioned,not the weather), and chances are his plans involve more than clearing up the rainy skies when he wants to play a round of golf, now this would normally be enough to bring Rico in for his usual showing of chaotic justice, but as an added incentive, the device was co created by his father, so this time, it’s personal, overall, the story isn’t anything too exciting but that’s not really what the series is about, it’s about grappling hooks, explosions, chaos and hilarious physics, and JC4 continues that journey, but now you can launch yourself up with your parachute and a tornado, Realistic? No. Awesome? Yes.
Overall Just Cause 4 is another fun romp through South America, the story is adequate, the missions get kind of repetitive with a lot of them being virtually the same thing in another place, usually with more people shooting at you, but the chaos is fun, it’s a blast to play around with the physics and work out creative ways to do things, for example there are surveillance blimps floating around sometimes that you can take out, I managed to get on top of one without realising I had no guns, what a waste right? So I decided to call for a supply drop of the Lightning gun, the plane flew overhead and dropped the shipping container, it collided with the blimp and fell to the ground, but I noticed that the blimp was visibly damaged, so I called in another delivery, the blimp blew up, I floated safely to the ground with my parachute and then my gun was sitting there ready for me to collect, the guns themselves are also pretty fun to play around with, they have secondary fire options, some of them shoot grenades, one has a big shield you can use, my favourite one though is the Smart Rifle, the alt shot is a targeting system that can take out multiple targets and the primary shot has such a satisfying deep sound, although there are plenty more guns to find and crazy accidental events to uncover.
In coffee terms, Just Cause 4 is exactly what you’d expect, a relatively satisfying coffee from a huge chain, who have shown over countless years that they know what they are doing, if you’ve liked previous coffees from the same barista, you’re likely to enjoy this one, it’s not as fresh and new as some of the earlier coffees but it’s still tasty and satisfying in a pinch.
Bonus Section – Ar0n’s Opinion
“I was really excited for Just Cause 4 (understatement, more like obsessed), and then it came out, and it made me feel so happy, people were saying bad things about the graphics and car handling (as I mentioned above), but I think it plays great and looks great, the tornado looks so realistic and you fly planes and stuff into it, or go in with just your parachute (Ar0n loves wild weather), the weapons you can use are really fun, I love the lightning gun and the tornado gun the most, I think the game looks beautiful, some of the missions are pretty hard (I had to do a few for him), the only problem I have is that sometimes in missions I don’t know what to do and the game won’t tell me until I find out (some of the mission markers are in the wrong place or you just get a written guideline so if you don’t know what you’re looking for you can spend a while not making any progress at all), Just Cause 4 is a great game and I recommend you get it when it gets cheaper (I agree here, full price is a little much but on sale you can sink hours into it with no regrets).
I hope you enjoyed my Just Cause 4 Review, if you want to stick around I really recommend listening or reading to some of my other reviews such as my Candleman Review or my new list about upcoming Dating Simulators!
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